harare_city logo.jpgThe Harare City Council has once again defied government’s directive of allocating 30% of the council’s budget to salaries by earmarking 40% of the city’s 2011 budget to salaries and allowances.

 

This came up during the budget presentation ceremony by chairperson of the Finance and Development Committee ,Clerk Ruth Kavhunika at Town House yesterday.

The City of Harare’s US$260,4 million 2011 budget will be mainly funded from rates. This has resulted in water rates being hiked by 40% as compared to the 2010 ratings.

 

“The expenditure I have alluded to above amounting to US$259 million is made up of salaries and allowances (40%), administration charges (4%), general expenditure (34%), repairs and maintenance (11%), capital charges (5%) and finally revenue contribution to capital outlay (4%).

 

“The operations of the city are basically labour intensive. You need direct labour to sweep the streets, direct labour accounts for refuse collection… The recommended split of 30% to 70% between labour and service delivery costs somehow misses the point,“ said Kavhunika.

 

Major highlights of the budget proposal include increasing ambulance fees from US$10 to US$11 and raising water tariffs by about 40% and housing rates by about 15%.

 

The budget also proposes to reduce maternity fees from US$50 to US$30 with effect from 01 January 2011.

 

Commenting on the budget, the Public Relations Director for the City of Harare, Mr. Lesley Gwindi, said that the budget is fair in the circumstances, citing lack of capitalisation.

 

He also said that consultations were made with residents prior to the drafting of the budget.

 

“A total of about 30 meetings were conducted to solicit for the residents’ contribution to the budget.” added Mr. Gwindi.

 

The City of Harare has of late been under pressure to improve its service delivery, with residents complaining of uncollected waste, poor water quality and road maintenance, among other issues.